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The Demaro Initiative


The Demaro Initiative – ‘A helping hand’

Daughters of Africa (DOAF) was founded in The Gambia in 2014. Their focus is to support grass-roots development in Africa through channeling self-leadership and building sustainable projects for Youth and their communities. We train young people as youth leaders, building skills around their interests and passions, involving them in local and international project learning. DOAF have a wide range of partners in different parts of Africa.

DOAF have observed that many young people across Africa fail to enter higher education without sponsorship due to financial hardship. This is especially important because 60% of the continent’s population is under the age of 25. Creating a situation where many become so desperate about their futures that they reach out to tourists, fall prey to human trafficking or make precarious journeys.

Our response to this is The Demaro Initiative, Demaro means ‘a helping hand’ in Mandinka. Managed by The Daughters of Africa, the initiative provides a robust system to provide financial support for young people that meet the criteria to engage in training, education or enterprise development. In return they will volunteer in their own communities.

How will it work

Each young person will provide a bio and provide the full costs of their education, training or enterprise plan. They will be interviewed by the DOAF team. Once approved DOAF will seek appropriate support and put a structure in place. The young person will also be matched with a voluntary role in their community. Meetings and updates with supporters will be arranged if desired and each young person’s success will be shared.

Criteria for entry:

  • 18-28 year olds living in Africa
  • Proof of entry to an institution
  • Proof of enterprise
  • Interview
  • Full bio and costing


The Demaro Initiative is managed by Daughters of Africa enabling:

1/ A secure and approachable space for young people in need of financial support from the initiative.

2/ Accountability for supporters; insurance that the use of funds is receipted, documented, and used for training, education, or enterprise only.

3/ Consistent volunteers to support community organisations.


Yerro. A. Jallow

Yerro was inspired to become an accountant by a former friend that he went to school with who qualified as an accountant and went on to become a bank manager. He remembers that the ‘guy’ always presented himself professionally and Yerro found saw him as a role model. He knew that becoming an accountant was going to be difficult as his family did not have the finances to support this route and he would be the first of his siblings to complete secondary education. After school finished, he could only find work as a labourer on construction sites which did not pay enough for the expense of college fees.

In 2021 he took up the opportunity to become a youth leader at Daughters of Africa and quickly become involved in a range of projects. His commitment and intelligence were recognised, and he was encouraged to apply for the Demaro Initiative.

Yerro is now studying towards becoming an account at the Management Development Institute. He finishes the Foundation in Accountancy (FIA), in July 2022. After that he will begin to work through the professional British exams with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), to become a fully certified accountant.

Every Saturday he works voluntarily with local children at the Mini Aya Prep School and as part of the Demaro Initiative he gains a much-needed financial helping hand from Wesley, an accountant himself, and partner Lydia.

‘A former pupil was my inspiration; he was always so professional’

Fatoumatta Baldeh

Fatoumatta finished Secondary school and took a short course in IT hoping to find office-based work. Over the two following years she had only found work as a housekeeper and became deeply saddened and frustrated about her prospects. She speaks about this period as being the longest twenty-four months of her life. Upon learning about the learning opportunities with the Daughters of Africa organisation she immediately joined as a youth leader.

The following year she was invited to do an internship and her passion for administration was discovered. She was supported to re-take her English exams and apply to the Management Development Institute to study public administration.

She voluntarily supports the Mini Aya Prep School project. She says her biggest learning has been that just because your life changes it does not mean that your deepest passions must. Fatoumatta applied for the Demaro Initiative and previous Vessel UK participant Anastasia has been keen to provide the helping financial hand needed.

‘The sky is not the limit your mind is, dreaming is my greatest escape.’

Musa Jarju

Musa completed his secondary school education in 2019, determined to pursue further education in the field of science and technology. He applied endlessly for scholarships to different companies and Institutions but to no avail. So, he focussed on volunteering in the community; teaching youths at the Inspiring Young-Stars library, supervising and taking part in programs. He worked as a construction labourer to earn to cover his basic needs and try to save for his education.

He has always loved technology and believed that Africans can only compete globally when they are technically informed. He was drawn towards studying computer science. When Daughters of Africa opened the Abuko Digital Hub during the pandemic lock down he became a member and took part in some coding training. He then applied to the Demaro Initiative.

Musa has gained financial support to pursue his studies from the London based band members of KOKOROKO who are very inspired by his resilience.

‘This support motivates me to study even harder so that I can achieve my future loving goals.’